SELF-PREOCCUPATION AS A PREDICTOR OF PERFORMANCE IN GRADUATE SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION
VIGILANTE, FLORENCE WEXLER
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This study utilizes two categories of self-preoccupation as predictors of performance in graduate social work education: "characterological self-preoccupation" and "situational self-preoccupation." These categories of personality traits are derived from the recent psychoanalytic literature on narcissism and the first hand participant observations of the researcher.;A sixty-nine question instrument was developed by the researcher based on reports in the literature and pre-study observations. The instrument was intended to differentiate between "characterological" and "situational" self-preoccupation behaviors. Three readers (judges) applied the instrument to the admissions records of the entire admitted class of 169 students in a school of social work at the beginning of the academic year. At the end of the first year of graduate study, the faculty used the instrument to assess the performance of all students experiencing learning problems.;The readers (judges) predicted that 55 students would experience learning problems connected with self-preoccupation. The faculty, at the end of the first year of study identified 53 students with learning problems connected with self-preoccupation. 25 of the 53 students identified were the same students as those predicted.;The instrument predicted those students who would have no problem at a 75.4% rate of accuracy.;45% of the students predicted as likely to experience learning problems associated with self-preoccupation were reported to have these problems.;60% of the students identified as demonstrating characterological self-preoccupation experienced learning problems.;37% of the students identified as demonstrating situational self-preoccupation experienced learning problems.;63% of the students identified as demonstrating situational self-preoccupation were not reported to have learning problems at the end of the first year.;Proportionately more older women students experienced learning problems. Factors possibly associated with this finding are relative lack of previous experience in social work or social work-related activity, and the recency of college graduation.;The study suggests implications for the selection of students and curriculum planning, e.g., situational self-preoccupation is probably not a counter indicator for admission and educational program planning is indicated to deal with the rising incidence of both forms of self-preoccupation among applicants to graduate schools of social work.